More than 140 ten-year-olds from across Scotland will be at Holyrood today for a giant birthday party, as part of a series of events designed to mark the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament.
The children are at the heart of the anniversary programme, which has been eight months in the making and aims to build on 10 years of engagement with the Scottish public. The activities covered range from the search for a new quote for Holyrood’s Canongate Wall, to Moving Stories: a unique travelling exhibition featuring 10 people’s experiences of interacting with the Parliament.
This morning at 11am , exactly 10 years on from the Parliament receiving its full legislative powers, Her Majesty The Queen will address MSPs in the Debating Chamber before meeting the children – who all share the same birthday as Holyrood – 1 July 1999.
After meeting Her Majesty, the children will enjoy their very own special party – complete with a 3ft-by-2ft birthday cake – and have an official birthday photograph taken with the Presiding Officer in the Debating Chamber. The day will finish with the children taking part in a selection of birthday activities including making their own cupcakes, inventing a new computer game and designing their own tartan ceramic tile.
Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: “This is a very special day for us as it was precisely 10 years ago today that the Scottish Parliament received its full legislative powers.
"This is a landmark day in our history – and we want to reaffirm the Parliament’s commitment to engaging with the people of Scotland through our wide-ranging programme of anniversary activities.
"It gives me great pleasure to place all these children born in Scotland on 1 July 1999 at the very heart of those activities. These children share their birth date with the beginning of devolution and have a unique personal bond with the birth of our nation’s Parliament.
"I very much hope that these children will retain their strong links with this Parliament, as through them is told the unfolding story of devolution.”
Speaking on the morning of the 10th anniversary ‘July baby’ Kieran Bell from East Lothian said: "I'm feeling a bit nervous but also really excited about meeting the Queen. I haven't met her before but I have seen her on TV."
Abigail Anne Richardson from Edinburgh agreed and added: "It's exciting to have the same birthday as the Parliament – my friends say I'm really lucky."
Additional events and initiatives focusing on public engagement contained within the anniversary programme include:
- a Scottish Parliament Open Day on 26 July
- a range of new partnerships aimed at working with groups who are under-represented in parliamentary engagement
- a series of new educational events designed to attract and engage a wider cross-section of young people with the Parliament and political issues.
The Parliament will also seek to mark the 10th anniversary through existing events such as the Festival of Politics.
Mr Fergusson MSP added: "In our first decade we tried new and different ways to share the power with the people of Scotland, such as the Public Petitions Committee and the Festival of Politics which have been studied and replicated by a number of other legislatures. It is fitting that we continue to build on this work in this our 10th anniversary year.”
The Scottish Parliament will be marking its 10th anniversary through a programme of exciting events and groundbreaking initiatives that focus on public engagement. More information on all of the 10th anniversary activities can be found on our 10 Years of Devolution page.